Self-monitoring of blood pressure (SMBP) is important in diagnosing and managing hypertension, and has many benefits, including avoiding unnecessary treatment of white-coat hypertension and also promoting appropriate prescribing by GPs.An internet survey found that, among 300 UK GPs, over 80% now use SMBP to manage hypertension and almost 50% use it to make a diagnosis. However, more than half of GPs were still using higher systolic thresholds for both diagnosis and treatment than are recommended in clinical guidelines. There is also considerable variation in the frequency of patients taking their blood pressures and in the communication of results between them and their GPs. Clearer practical guidance on the use of SMBP is likely to help realise its considerable advantages.
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